Career Criminal with 19 Prior Felonies Charged in Fridley Burglary

Kurtis Ray Cornelius has left a trail of victims in his wake across the metro in less than ten years with at least 19 felony convictions since 2010

Kurtis Ray Cornelius, Source MN Dept. of Corrections

Kurtis Ray Cornelius has left a trail of victims in his wake across the metro in less than ten years with at least 19 felony convictions since 2010 – at least a dozen of them for financial card fraud and burglary related offenses. Despite having been sentenced in the various cases to nearly 45 years in prison, he’s only served just over six years incarcerated and was somehow free earlier this month to attempt another burglary in Fridley according to an Anoka County Criminal complaint.

Officers responded to a report of a burglary alarm on Satellite Lane in Fridley on Oct. 1. When officers arrived at the residence, they found and open door off its hinges and a damaged frame indicating forced entry. Before officers could enter the residence, two suspects ran out of the attached garage, the complaint said.

Police chased down and arrested the suspects who were subsequently identified as Cornelius and accomplice Casey George Rygh. When officers entered the residence they found it ransacked and no one home.

Casey George Rygh, Source: Anoka County Sheriff

Cornelius, 31, has at least 45 prior criminal cases in Minnesota stretching back to 2005. His first felony conviction was in Dakota County in 2010 for second-degree burglary. In that case, he received a stayed 18-month prison sentence, meaning the felony sentence was not imposed and he was alternatively sentenced to the workhouse for 90 days and placed on probation.

While on probation, Cornelius began a years-long crime spree spanning Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington, Scott and Dakota counties racking up numerous felony and other charges in at least 29 cases between Aug. 2012 and Oct. 2015. Charges included numerous burglary cases including occupied dwellings, several cases of financial card fraud, numerous theft cases, motor vehicle theft, damage to property, fleeing police, receiving stolen property, narcotics and more. In several of the pending cases, Cornelius was released from custody with or without bail while awaiting future court dates.

Although Cornelius was incarcerated at various points following convictions in many of the cases, court records show that most of the sentences – ranging from 68 months to 13 months in each case – were ordered to be served concurrently – at the same time, even though the crimes involved several separate incidents in separate counties. Cornelius was most recently released from custody in July of this year and had been on supervised release prior to the Fridley arrest.

Cornelius, whose address in the complaint is listed on the 2900 block of Quebec Avenue in St. Louis Park, has been charged in the Fridley case with one count of second-degree burglary and remains in custody in Anoka County Jail on $100,000 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 28.

Rygh, who will turn 41 next week, is charged with one count of felony second-degree burglary and one count of felony fourth-degree assault. The complaint states that Rygh, who was handcuffed inside an ambulance on the scene after complaining of difficulty breathing, spat in the face of a uniformed police sergeant when the sergeant attempted to adjust Rygh’s handcuffs after he complained that they were too tight. Rygh also remains in custody on $100,000 bail is also schedule for his next court appearance on Oct. 28.

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